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Peugeot 308 2011 Review

Peugeot's 308 was a polarising car when it arrived a few years ago — that big, froggy mouth, the under-tuck at the rear, the long front overhang — you either liked it or didn't.

It's undergone a mid-life revamp which sees a styling tone-down shrinking the grille, changing the bonnet and bumpers and adding new lights including LED running lights.

Inside has also undergone modest changes. The effect is positive and should give the 308 broader appeal.

VALUE

We drove the mid-range Active five-door hatch with six-speed auto that sells for $31,490 — edging towards the premium end of the small car spectrum. It's not as exey as a 1-Series BMW but is in there with Golf.

Active spec' brings plenty of goodies including an electric parking brake, park assist front and rear, Bluetooth, satnav, dual zone climate control, auto wipers and headlights and sports seats (no leather).

The audio is good and fully connected while the 16-inch alloys are on the small side these days. Something else to consider is the fixed price service plan applicable to 308 which effectively means you pay $330 a year (every 20,000km).

SAFETY

The 308 scores a five star rating and has the full array of active and passive safety equipment, bolstered by the front and rear park assist and other handy stuff. The inherent safety of 308's dynamics also contribute to its safety because you can more readily avoid a collision.

UNDER THE BONNET

Plenty of kick comes from the 1.6-litre, turbo petrol four cylinder with variable inlet valve timing. Peugeot is another automaker with the high tech/smaller capacity engine philosophy (like VW and BMW) and it works a treat.

Some 115kW/240Nm percolates from the smooth, punchy engine that is capable of sipping 7.4-litres/100km, 6.6 in the manual. Emissions are low contributing to the 308's Euro 5 endorsement. The six-speed auto is silky smooth and almost intuitive contributing to the positive feel of the car in all driving conditions. It doesn't have paddles but there's a sequential stick shift mode.

INSIDE

"Impressive'' encapsulates the interior's looks and function. As good as a VW — possibly, but much better than the mainstream small cars — Corolla, Lancer, Civic, Cruze. It's as good as new Focus but not as funky.

The sporty seats are comfy and have plenty of adjustment, the dash has a smooth shape, the instrumentation is classy. It's a roomy interior with a huge windscreen while the boot is a decent size, expandable with folded rear seats.

THE DRIVE

Loved driving this car because it has a distinctive feel and plenty grunt to get you places without slurping much fuel. The auto is a cracker and would be on our check list. Ride from the simple Macstrut front and beam rear suspension is surprisingly competent offering comfort and control with a sporty edge.

This is aided by the electric steering and strong brakes. The 308 has shed 25kg this model and it feels lithe and sporty behind the wheel — very satisfying. Solid.

VERDICT

Yes, we had pretty much forgotten about Peugeot 308 as a small car contender — big mistake. It's heaps better than many offerings in the segment and has plenty of class at an affordable price. The new look has more appeal and Peugeot seems to have regained its suspension prowess.

PEUGEOT 308

Price: starting from $31,490
Engine: 1.6-litre, turbo petrol four cylinder, 115kW/240Nm
Thirst: 7.4-litres/100km
Transmission: six-speed auto, six-speed manual
Safety: Five star rating

Pricing guides

$9,375
Based on 32 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,985
Highest Price
$11,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CC 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $10,900 – 15,950 2011 Peugeot 308 2011 CC Pricing and Specs
CC Allure HDi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $12,400 – 17,930 2011 Peugeot 308 2011 CC Allure HDi Pricing and Specs
CC Allure Turbo 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $11,200 – 16,500 2011 Peugeot 308 2011 CC Allure Turbo Pricing and Specs
CC S 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $13,100 – 18,920 2011 Peugeot 308 2011 CC S Pricing and Specs